We are all waking up! The problem is, we are each waking up at different rates. This is particularly challenging when it occurs within families.
If you are reading this, chances are you are more awake than others in your life, and maybe this presents some issues. After all, when you are awake, it can be super difficult to deal with family members, such as parents, siblings and in-laws, who are still sleeping, especially when our habitual reactions to family dynamics can cause us to go unconscious (showing us where we are still asleep ourselves.)
The key to maintaining positive relationships with our families is not in trying to wake them up, but rather in staying awake ourselves. So, if you are fortunate to be more awake than others in your family, what does it take to stay awake in the presence of those sleepy individuals?
Know Your Hook
We all have emotional hooks that when pulled enroll us back into old dynamics, causing us to fall back to sleep and forget who we really are. A hook can be an old issue or a current issue, and when this issue is activated in any way, you are hooked into reacting. If you can identify your personal hooks, you can also consciously choose to stay far away from these topics, and if someone else brings them up, you can consciously choose not to be hooked. Take a deep breath, go for a walk, or do whatever it takes to stay off the hook.
Don’t Hook Anyone Else
Let’s be honest, we all know what hooks our family members into reactions. We know their buttons and we know how to press them. But, where does that get us? If we are really awake, it doesn’t get us anywhere. In fact, activating the wounds of someone else, just to get a sense of power or revenge, or even just perpetuating an old habit, keeps you asleep. When we are awake, we no longer need to get reactions out of others.
What would happen if you just let those you love and care about off the hook?
12 Ways to Heal Family Relationships
Here are 12 powerful ways to recognize our hooks and heal our relationships:
Unfulfilled Emotional Needs
Most of us leave childhood with unfulfilled emotional needs and many of us continue to look to our parents or siblings for the fulfillment of those emotional needs, well past their expiration date. When you look to any family member for approval, appreciation or acknowledgement, you set yourself, and them, up for disappointment. In order to stay awake, it is pivotal that you stop expecting others to meet your emotional needs.
If you are an adult and you are still seeking your dad’s approval, for example, you are likely entangled in a dynamic that keeps you both asleep. Waking up from this dynamic means releasing your dad by no longer needing him to give you approval. In the wakeful state, we fulfill our own emotional needs so that we no longer need others to do it for us
Own Your Reactions
When you negatively react to a family member because you believe he or she “hasn’t changed” or “doesn’t get it,” you immediately go back to sleep. You cannot adversely react to another without lowering your personal vibration, and vibrating at the level of the one in which you judge. Usually we react because we recognize something in someone else that we resist in ourselves. By identifying the real issue in us, we access an opportunity for self-healing.
Every time we have hidden or overt expectations of another, we create conflict in the relationship. When it comes to our primary family, often these expectations are childhood based and even though we are no longer children, we maintain these expectations and the expectations unconsciously run us, by negatively affecting our behavior. Releasing expectations is like unlocking the prison door from the inside.
Let Go of Responsibility
Much of family strife comes from believing that we are responsible for each other. As soon as you believe that you are responsible for a family member, even a younger sibling, you distort the balance of the relationship, and you create underlying contention. You cannot control how others view you, but you can release your sense of responsibility for others in your family. You are not responsible for your parents or your adult siblings. This one shift in perspective has the power to transform family dynamics.
Judgment is Not Caring
Because we want what is best for those we love, we often disguise judgment in the form of caring. But judgment is not caring. No matter how much you love someone, you really don’t know what is best for them. You also cannot expect others to learn from your mistakes, so don’t impose your self-judgment onto them. Judgment is the quickest way to separate us from another and create friction. Keep your advice to yourself, and trust that the same source that woke you up will awaken those you love.
Get Over the Power Struggle
Most families have some form a power struggle operating between family members. A great deal of the discord in families is the playing-out of this power struggle. If you are still struggling for power in your family, this is where you are still asleep. The good news is, only one person needs to give up the power struggle for the power struggle to end. You overcome the power struggle by owning your power and not giving it to anyone or trying to get it from anyone. Drop the tug-of-war rope, and everyone wins.
Stop Living in the Past
You cannot be awake and living in the past at the same time. If you find yourself dealing with past issues in your family, it is only because these past issues are not resolved personally for you. When past issues come up, it is your opportunity to wake up and heal them.
Releasing the past and dealing with areas of your life where you are still asleep often requires some level of forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean that you condone another’s behavior. It simply means that you are willing to let go and rise above the issue. Remember, the reason why it is difficult to forgive someone is the core of your issue. Heal your issue, and forgiveness is easy. From the awakened state, we know that it is never about anyone else.
It can be so easy to focus on the things that annoy us about each other, but there are just as many things to appreciate about each other. When your intention is appreciation of those you love, your attention is automatically directed to all the things that you can appreciate. Your focus determines the outcome of all interactions. From an asleep state, we focus on what is wrong. From an awakened state, appreciation is our inner guide.
Allow Others to Be Who They Are
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t really need to accept anything about anyone else. In fact, when we force ourselves to accept others, there is always an element of non-acceptance that we are fighting against. So instead of forcing acceptance, simply allow others to be. It’s like allowing the sun to rise and set. There is nothing you can do about it even if you wanted to. By allowing others to be who they are without trying to change them, resistance is dropped and the energy between the two of you clears – bringing you both to a higher level of connection.
My mom and I had a turbulent relationship for many years. I thought I was so awake and I would try to wake her up, which only added up to frustration and disappointment for both of us. Finally, one day, I really woke up — I realized my mom was never going to change, and she didn’t have to. I could love her exactly as she was, even if she was trying to change me to match her expectations! So that’s what I did – without telling my mom, I made a commitment to myself to unconditionally love her without needing or wanting her to change. She could just be who she was and she could be exactly where she was in life; even what she thought about me was no longer any of my business.
It was as if I had found a secret magic wand, because within days of making this conscious choice, my relationship with my mom was completely and permanently transformed. By releasing judgment, I had let my mom off the hook, and as a result the way she showed up with me was completely different – and uplifting. What I had failed to recognize previously was that my judgment of her was keeping her asleep in my consciousness. The only one who had to wake up was me.
The Magic of Letting Go
When all else fails, simply let go. Let go of all your opinions, fears, judgments, past baggage and everything else that weighs you down. By universally letting go of everything, you are left with being present in the now. When you are present in the now, you are awake, and then it doesn’t matter what anyone does or says. It is all harmoniously perfect.
Invite Others Up
It is our human tendency to meet people “where they are.” If someone is angry or upset, we quickly match their energy – even if we are in resistance to it, we are still matching it. What would happen if you made a conscious choice to maintain a high energy and not compromise that energy for anyone or anything? In other words, what would happen if you rise above the disharmony until you reach a state of love, peace and appreciation, and commit to that state of being?
When others show up in lower states, you don’t go down to meet them, by reacting, judging or trying to change them. You maintain your high state and you invite them up. They may not come up, and that is okay, but they won’t be able to be in your presence, for very long, if they don’t. Either way, how you feel is not dependent on anyone or anything, and you maintain an awakened state without compromise.
When you consistently stay in integrity with who you really are, eventually you will reach an energetic threshold, where the people in your world do, in fact, come up to match your high vibration. This is the manifestation of living in the awakened state, and it is our greatest gift to those we love.
Be awake, stay awake and invite the world up to celebrate with you.